Faith Matters: A time to be thankful: God’s mercy doesn’t end, even when we fall and fail

  • The Rev. Brett Reitenbach of the Greenfield Baptist Church. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Pastor, Greenfield Baptist Church
Published: 11/17/2023 12:03:17 PM
Modified: 11/17/2023 12:02:30 PM

For those who read or listen to the news, one doesn’t have to wait very long to hear about violence, death, destruction, confusion and bizarre events. Many who don’t pay close attention to what is going on in the world still face adversity closer to home in the form of financial struggles, health trouble, broken relationships, heartache, fear and uncertainty.

As we rapidly approach the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s easy to let busyness and life’s overwhelming circumstances crowd out the significance of the day and cause us to neglect the opportunity and necessity to reflect on the blessings we have and be thankful for them. 1 Thessalonians 5:18 says, “In everything give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” Even in the middle of trying circumstances, we still have much to be thankful for.

Multiple historical events led to modern-day Thanksgiving observances in the United States, but two important precedents were set by the Pilgrims and Puritans who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony, in addition to settlers who landed in Virginia in 1619. Sailing across the ocean was not for the faint of heart, and those who made it faced hard times in the new land. Significantly, they saw the value in setting aside a special time to thank God for His help, provision and blessings.

Psalm 100 is a psalm of praise and says in verse four, “Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.” Entering God’s gates and courts is a reference to going to the place of worship, which, for the nation of Israel, was the tabernacle and later the temple. For today’s believers in the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob all over the world, God’s gates and courts represent the place where a congregation of believers meets for worship in their local area.

Even though there are a variety of specific things in individual lives to be thankful for, Psalm 100:5 gives some universal reasons to be thankful to the Lord. It first says, “For the LORD is good.” God’s goodness is shown through the beauty of His creation, the life He gives, the ongoing provision of His air for us to breathe, the abundance of agriculture, and those are just a few of the ways God’s goodness is shown.

The ultimate act of God’s goodness was shown by His making a way for fallen mankind to have forgiveness of sins and a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross.

Psalm 100:5 continues with the statement “his mercy is everlasting.” It has been said that mercy is not getting what we deserve. More specifically, it means to treat an offender better than he or she deserves; and the perfectly holy and just God was under no obligation to extend mercy to a human race that chose to go its own way instead of His way. For those who have received the blessing of salvation through Jesus Christ, God’s mercy doesn’t end, even when we fall and fail.

Psalm 100:5 concludes with the words “and his truth endureth to all generations.” No matter what year it is, no matter how many centuries have come and gone, and no matter what the latest trends of each generation are, God’s truth endures. In a world full of uncertainty and instability, God’s truth as found in the Bible is a rock to stand on and is a reason to be thankful.

As we enjoy food, football, family, or whatever festivities Thanksgiving consists of, let’s remember the reason for the day, reflect on the goodness of God, and be thankful!

Greenfield Baptist Church is a caring church with a life-changing message. Founded in 2015, this independent Baptist church meets at 138 Main Street in Greenfield. Worship services are held on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Sunday School is at 9:30 a.m., and Midweek Prayer Meeting is held on Wednesdays at 6:30 p.m. For more information about the church, please call 413-376-4516 or visit Sermon videos can be viewed by searching for “Greenfield Baptist Church MA” on YouTube.


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